Chinese soybean producers go along with development organisation Solidaridad in working on the first responsibly produced soy in China.
The Dutch NGO speaks of a breakthrough because sustainability has not been on the agenda of the Chinese soybean industry before.
Two large farms, Sinograin North and Nenjiang Farm, in the coming years intend to meet the international standard for responsible soy established by the international platform RTRS.
In this round table soy producers, traders, the feed industry and civil society organisations work together in the cultivation of socially responsible soy.
The project starts with the two major soybean producing companies owning a total area of 50,000 hectares. They learn to efficiently deal with their land, save costs and save the environment.
The next step is that small farmers are going to meet the international standard and realise a higher production in a responsible manner. There are a total of 28,000 farmers involved in the project, owning on average 40 acres (16.2ha) of land.
China produces more and more soy to feed the ever-growing livestock herd. "In a country where development organisations have little influence, it is a challenge to increase revenues for farmers with less damage to the environment," concludes Solidaridad.
China is the largest consumer and importer of soy in the world and the fourth producer.